Tag Archives | Enlightenment

Tantra, Martial Arts, and The Metaphysics of Pain

From the the Christian image of the crucifixion to statues of a skeletal Buddha, pain and suffering, and pushing beyond them, have been perennial themes in religion and spirituality. Both in the East and West — from the samurai to Freemasonry — practitioners have contemplated their own mortality, as part of their practices, reorienting themselves away from trivial personal concerns and toward, to borrow a term from the East, the “Way.”

Yet, today, we are increasingly concerned with comfort and security. Even spirituality itself is repackaged to reassure rather than to challenge practitioners. Offering rare insight, Craig Williams, author of Tantric Physics Vol I: Cave of the Numinous, elaborates on pain and its lessons in the martial arts and Tantra:

samurai

“Pain is one of the keys to unlock man’s innermost being as well as the world,” wrote Ernst Junger. “Whenever one approaches the points where man proves himself to be equal or superior to pain, one gains access to the sources of his power and the secret hidden behind his dominion.

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Bald-headed Idiot-Assholes and the Quest to Identify what Enlightenment Isn’t

Keoni Cabral (CC BY 2.0)

Keoni Cabral (CC BY 2.0)

If you run in certain circles, and if you spend enough time around a certain kind of person (or if you live within hitchhiking distance of  Crestone, CO), you will eventually find yourself in the company of a person who has convinced themselves that they are “enlightened.” For me, I don’t know why, but it happens a lot. I know a lot of enlightened people. I know so many enlightened people I’m almost surprised that their enlightenment hasn’t somehow rubbed off on me through a spiritual osmosis of some kind. WHAT THE FUCK, UNIVERSE?!!!

In reality, though, it’s a good thing that their enlightenment has never infected me. At least, I think it’s a good thing. Most of these enlightened people are fucking incorrigible. They’re stuffy, haughty, self-serious asswipes who are always trying to point out that you suck because you don’t behave in an enlightened way.… Read the rest

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Gimme Nirvana Baby: On the Spiritual Journey of Ash from the Evil Dead Films

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Ugh. I’ve desperately tried to write this essay without referring–for the second essay in a row–to my Sunday living habits. They’re really not that interesting, and I understand that. But I’m sorry. Just like the last essay, the origins of this one occur during those existential lulls that seem to characterize a lot of people’s Christian Sabbath.

You see, in my household–after my morning workout– Sunday mornings are reserved for one of two rituals. One, because my wife is a practicing Catholic, we go to mass. Or, two–if we’re too lazy on that particular morning–we lay around in our sweats and my wife watches “Super Soul Sundays” on the Oprah Winfrey Network. Of the two, even though I am a blasphemer, heretic and just an outright nonbeliever, I greatly prefer going to mass, even though it means making the effort to look presentable in public on a Sunday morning and listening to some dweeb in a blouse tell me about how I need to make some more time for gahd/Jesus in my life.… Read the rest

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The Blood Soaked Road To Enlightenment: An Interview With David Metcalfe

Disinfonauts! Some have this idea that enlightenment can be bought one yoga mat at a time at Whole Foods, but is that the real deal? With so many soft core eastern traditions infiltrating western culture, how do we parse the legitimate from the bullshit?

I had a great conversation with Esotericist, Hermit, Santa Muerte expert and all around, great guy, David Metcalfe for my podcast and we tackle the subject of the Blood Soaked Road to Enlightenment.

I just had to share it with you all.

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On the Romantic Era Roots of Black Metal

Pic: Marieke Kuijjer (CC)

Pic: Marieke Kuijjer (CC)

I’ve never been a fan of black metal (the cookie monster vocals are a definite barrier), but this article from The New Inquiry has given me a new perspective on one of heavy music’s most outré subgenres. In “Black Metal is Sublime,” author Adrian Van Young makes the case for black metal’s roots in the Romantic Era of the early 19th century:

Via The New Inquiry:

Aesthetically, artistically, and ideologically, Black Metal and Romanticism are two sides of the same scuffed coin. Indeed, right down to the cherry-pit cleft in his chin, Hunt-Hendrix—who has written an 11-page aesthetics manifesto called “Transcendental Black Metal”—is a ringer for none other than Lord Byron, the 19th century bastion of what the poet Robert Southey called the “Satanic school” of verse. The Courier judged Byron as having “a brain from heaven and a heart from hell”—someone who “seems to have lived only that the world might learn from his example how worthless and how pernicious a thing is genius, when divorced from religion, from morals and from humanity.”

Keep reading at The New Inquiry.Read the rest

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RSA Looks to Elevate the Discussion on Spirituality

PIc: Indrajit Chatterjee (CC)

PIc: Indrajit Chatterjee (CC)

“The capacious term ‘spirituality’ lacks clarity because it is not so much a unitary concept as a signpost for a range of touchstones; our search for meaning, our sense of the sacred, the value of compassion, the experience of transcendence, the hunger for transformation.

There is little doubt that spirituality can be interesting, but what needs to be made clearer by those who take that for granted is why it is also important. To be a fertile idea for those with terrestrial power or for those who seek it, we need a way of speaking of the spiritual that is intellectually robust and politically relevant.” – Jonathan Rowson

Between explaining it away as an artifact of the brain and militant rejection of it as leftover cultural/scientific ignorance, spirituality has long been anathema to academic circles (and many corners of the YAY SCIENCE! internet community).  If it’s discussed at all, it’s from the proposition of wishful fairy stories, peppered with a healthy amount of contempt and ridicule.  Read the rest

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Can Childhood Trauma Fuel Enlightenment?

Pic: William H. Johnson. Smithsonian Institute (PD)

Pic: William H. Johnson. Smithsonian Institute (PD)

Will Meecham says yes.  Via Psych Central:

My younger years felt poisoned with dissatisfaction, rage, and confusion. Looking back, it’s clear I struggled with many of the difficulties known to stem from adverse home life. Here is my breakdown of the common problems, derived from multiple sources and framed by personal experience: poor self-concept, emotional reactivity, social unease, feelings of emptiness, problems with focus, and stress-induced bodily symptoms.During the years of my recovery, each of these qualities changed from feeling wholly negative to seeming at least partially positive. Taken together, in their new form they help me appreciate life’s majesty even in the face of pain, loss, and illness. To feel privileged to be alive regardless of circumstance is, I suspect, near to realization. There is room for much greater maturity, but most of the time I feel contented and unafraid. What more does a person require?

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Manly P. Hall Reveals the Stories in Our Stars (or, Astrotheology: On the Astronomical Origins of Myths)

Screen Shot 2014-01-01 at 8.50.31 AMMost people’s eyes glaze over at the mention of “astrology” these days. Mainly because the first things that spring to mind are spirituality-for-entertainment crystal gazers and a list of general-to-the-point-of-meaningless life forecasts next to the Sunday comics (and now, apparently, a divination system to compete with/outperform other scam artists on Wall Street). Manly P Hall isn’t interested in the horoscope-ified version either, but in examining how it was the ancients studied the stars and their locations, the significance of their movements, and mapping them in constellations. Also, how various myths are mapped to celestial (including planetary and solar) motions.

Hall distinguishes it here as “astro-theology,” and, being a more sophisticated take on the subject, I figured it would be appreciated by disinfonauts (and simply deserves a wider audience, as is).  Archetypes, deep symbolism, degrees of consciousness, the Solar Hero Myth (and its many iterations), how these thoughts still effect and pervade our lives – Hall covers a great deal.  … Read the rest

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Mind Shift: Enlightening our Global Culture with Russell Brand and Eve Ensler

7119E760-B294-4F18-90D9-1B7D9ABFB39BWhat happens when you put comedian and known playboy Russell Brand on the same guest panel as activist Eve Ensler, playwright of The Vagina Monologues?

Tune into Daniel Pinchbeck’s talk show Mind Shift to find out — for FREE. This episode follows Brand and Ensler as they dive headfirst into the cultural benefits of enlightenment, and the crisis we face today as our society’s spirituality clashes with its politics. Watch it now for FREE. And even better, catch all the current Mind Shift episodes — as well as Gaiam TV’s entire video library — by signing up for your FREE 10-day trial now.

We are facing a unique crisis as our renewed vigor for attaining enlightenment clashes with our materialist based economy and fear-based politics. Is there a way we can reconcile our current systems with the new spiritual paradigms? If not, how can we reform them? Daniel Pinchbeck explores the cultural benefits of enlightenment with comedian Russell Brand and playwright Eve Ensler in this interview originally webcast October 15, 2013

Russell Brand offers his insightful perspectives on spirituality, economics and politics without abandoning his unique zeal and sense of humor.… Read the rest

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Scientists Get a TASTE of the Transcendent

its-full-of-stars“The potential for a mystical experience is the natural birthright of all human beings.” – Stanislav Grof

“Man may intellectually argue himself in and out of anything. But he can only defend it as long as he has not experienced the fact that he is wrong. Once he has come to the interior realization that a situation is not right, he cannot rest until he does something about it.”Manly P. Hall

“Its persuasiveness seems to hinge on an experience of this interconnection…”Richard M. Doyle

 

What has been generally termed a “mystical experience” is something that has been reported throughout time and across disparate cultures.  At its core, it’s a direct, non-verbal experience wherein an individual feels an expansion of the self to union with, to borrow a phrase from Alan Watts, “the whole works.”  Themes of euphoria, harmonization and interconnectedness are commonly relayed, along with the ultimate ineffability of it all.  … Read the rest

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